That Les Green song: Two Brothers

LesGreenThere is this Civil War song called Two Brothers. I woke up from a nap several months ago thinking about it. Here’s someone’s reflection on the song.

Here are the lyrics, written by Irving Gordon, who may or may not have written “Who’s On First” for Abbott and Costello. And here’s the sheet music.

This version by Georgianna Askoff is appropriately plaintive, whereas Anna Coogan and Joy Mills are a bit too festive for my taste. It was popularized by The Lettermen, though I never heard their version, the B-side to Allentown Jail, until much later. .

And I was thinking about it because my father, Les Green, used to perform it. His version seems the most authentic. I can still hear his guitar as he sang: “All on a beautiful” – he’d pick out so, so, si, la, ti -“morning”, with “morn” on a four-note melisma. Wish you could have heard it.

If memory serves – and it so often does not – he sang it far less at the point my sister Leslie and I performed with him as the Green Family Singers, mostly because it was really a solo piece for him. You see it listed on his early playlist.

Tomorrow would have been Dad’s 88th birthday. Obviously, even my subconscious still thinks about him.


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